Oren at 18 Months

Oren likes to play hide and seek, but without the hiding. I ask him: do you want to play hide and seek? And he’ll use his hands to sign “more” and “please.” And then I’ll say, “Okay, go hide!” And he’ll take a few steps like he knows the perfect hiding spot, and then just turn around and stare at me, his face painted in glee. And then I’ll realize that he has no idea what hide and go seek is – he just likes to be chased. So I’ll grab him around the waist and say “I FOUND you!” And he’ll squeal and make the sign for “more.”

The thing is, Oren is actually pretty good at hiding – he just does it on his own terms. He’s found every nook and cranny in our apartment that he can wedge himself into, like the cupboards in the kitchen, the laundry basket, our still-empty bookshelves, and any cardboard box that happens to be lying around. He just can’t seem to bring this same game to playing hide and go seek.

He’s also quite good at hiding things. Any idea why the car keys are in the dishwasher? Or why your phone is in the trash? Ask Oren.

He knows, but he won’t tell you. He’ll try, perhaps, but his vocabulary is comprised of different intonations of words starting with the letter d. Dee! Doo! Da! Doo-da! He uses baby sign language too, and almost always understands our directions, but he’s in no rush to speak English himself.

He does want to understand, though. One of his favorite games is pointing to objects around the house and saying “dee!” while looking at you with raised eyebrows. It took us a while to figure out that he wants to know what it’s called. At least that’s what we think he means. So we’ll say “chair” or “plate” or “spoon” after which he’ll quickly move on to the next object. “Dee!”

I’m excited for him to speak, but I’m enjoying his non-verbal communication, too. Last night as I was zipping him up in his pajamas he kept making the sign for “more.” But more what? More pajamas? More books? More songs? Then I picked him up to carry him to his crib and he opened his arms wide for a hug, locked eyes with me, and moved in for one more goodnight kiss. And then another, and another. Which words could be better than that?

I’ve written in the past about Oren’s relationship with Idara. I want to capture it each time I write because I’m afraid that someday soon they’ll wake up and decide that life is more interesting as arch enemies. But that day hasn’t come. In fact, they’re only getting closer. The other day we told Idara that someday she could get married and she responded, “But I’m already married to Oren!”

After they finish a meal one will toddle off to the toys in the living room and the other is never far behind. She makes things, he unmakes things. Sometimes she finds this very frustrating and screams and cries, which never seems to temper his joy. And while there may be some pushing (by Idara) or teeth marks (which resemble Oren’s), their fights never last long. When we check on them again a few minutes later they’re just as likely to be looking at a book together on the couch as to be fighting over a toy.

Perhaps I ought to write a book: How to Foster Positive Sibling Relationships for Fun and Profit by Alex Johnson. Really, though, I can’t take any credit. We try to avoid the obvious things like pitting them against each other, but mostly they just seem to enjoy spending time with each other. Oren still squeals in delight when I bring him in to wake up Idara in the morning, and she’s as protective of him as we are. Perhaps more so. What this means in two or ten years is anyone’s guess, but I like where it’s headed.

oren-front-seat.jpg I had to move the car a couple dozen feet and so let Oren sit in the front seat. That’s the face of feeling like a big kid.

oren-helicopter.JPG I can’t get enough of this hat – reminds me of Rodrik Cassel in Game of Thrones.

oren-idara-road.jpg Oren and Idara on a walk during one of our excursions around Azerbaijan.

oren-mullet.jpg For some reason his hair only really grows in the back. I can’t wait until we can braid it.

oren-poses.jpg “Well hello there.”

oren-toothpaste.jpg There is nothing on this earth that Oren loves more than carrying around a toothbrush and toothpaste. He’s recently started pretending to put the toothpaste on the toothpaste, and when we try to put the cap back on he loses it. Unfortunately this love for carrying around a toothbrush doesn’t translate into loving to have his teeth brushed.

oren-sad-face.jpg This is the face Oren makes when you take away his toothbrush and toothpaste.

oren-snow.jpg Oren’s first blizzard.

oren-swing.jpg He was riding his strider a moment before I took this, but given how keen he is to climb onto and over everything, we should probably just leave the helmet on him all the time.

oren-tortures-me.jpg I once made the mistake of saying “ow!” when Oren pulled my hair, which he thought was some sort of game. Now he giggles every time I say it and so tortures me with hair pulling and stick poking to try to get me to say it again.

oren-starts-day.jpg After a power breakfast of apple, raisins, and tea, it’s time to get down to work.